Project-based learning, curiosity and creativity – all three supported by Mehackit Maker kit!

March 14, 2019

Couple of weeks ago at Educa, we met teachers and introduced Let Me Hack It, our in-service training program for teachers, which is funded by Finnish National Agency for Education. In our stand there was a possibility to win Mehackit Maker kit (containing Arduino based electronics) from a lottery. Kaisa Sirkiä won the kit, so we decided to interview her.

PS. Let Me Hack It has started this week with over 400 participants, and we’ve already had tons of fun!

Can you tell something about yourself? What do you teach and where?

“I’m a class teacher in Kittilä, Lukkari school, and I teach the third grade. There are about 200 pupils in our school. I like to try new stuff in my lessons, with technology and overall! An important hobby for me is various escape rooms, and those I have actually included to my teaching through free Can You Escape -application.”

What did you think about when winning the Mehackit Maker kit?

“At first I celebrated: “Yay, I won!” But then I started to think, what did I actually win? I googled some videos and was afraid if I’d have to solder electric wires together. Soon I realised that couplings can be easily made with breadboard.

When I came home, my son rejoiced: “Arduino, Arduino!” He knew immediately what it was, because he had tried Arduino on fourth grade at school. He told his friend about the kit and called me to work asking how to get started with the kit. I told him that we have to wait for the extra instructions from the Let Me Hack It -course starting in March!”

Mehackit Maker kit gives an amazing opportunity to be curious and creative while learning about coding and robotics.

What is the best thing in working as a teacher?

“Maybe the flexibility. When all the learning objectives are accomplished, time can be used for trying and developing new things. For example we have experimentally studied different phenomena on environmental studies, such as snow, water and traffic. Pupils examined traffic by trying to go over a crosswalk and counting how many cars stopped before it.

In this kind of projects, pupils’ competitive instinct gets activated easily. While studying traffic pupils made hypotheses, and they had to be reminded that the most important thing isn’t guessing the answers correctly beforehand. Refuted hypothesis is really valuable finding!”

Have you taught programming in your own work?

“I have used games and applications as a part of math lessons to teach programming, approximately once in a month. For example Box Island has been fascinating! Programming tasks can be nice assignments for those who have already solved the assignments of the lesson.”

What have pupils thought about programming?

“Mostly, pupils have liked it! In gamificated environments, the motivation arises from the will to get to the next level. On the other hand, it can also be frustrating, if pupils feel like they don’t know how to move forward. It has been nice to notice that pupils help each other to overcome challenges.”

Kaisa and her son, Otso, exploring Mehackit Maker kit.

What makes it easier to start technology education?

“I think that the educator has to be confident enough, so there wouldn’t be completely unexpected situations that could mess up the whole lesson. On the other hand, the educator has to be able to use their pupils’ knowledge – teacher is not always the one who knows the most. Sometimes pupils want to imitate others’ solutions. It’s not necessarily bad thing: the maker can be proud if somebody wants to imitate their work, and sharing and presenting projects is also a resource.”

What do you expect from Let Me Hack It -course?

“I’m eager for the tips concerning how I could use Arduino in my teaching. The beginning is probably clear when working with Arduino, because everyone is learning the same basics. But what are the possibilities after it, when the learners are so diverse?”

Mehackit Atelier combines creative technology and amazing projects making it possible to learn coding while teaching! The platform is created for the needs of every educator, who wants to give more to their students and pupils regardless their knowledge or interests. With illustrative videos and inspiring ideas, only minimal preparation time is needed. Get familiar with Atelier in here, and read more about Let Me Hack It in here (in Finnish only)!